US hostage appeals for family help in new video

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — An elderly American aid worker kidnapped over a year ago in Pakistan is asking his family to get Jewish communities in the United States to pressure Washington to meet al-Qaida's demands so he can go free, according to a new video of the captive.

Warren Weinstein did not specify what those demands were. Previous al-Qaida conditions for his release have included the freeing of militant suspects and a halt to U.S. airstrikes.

In the video message released late Thursday by the group, the 71-year-old said he is well and is getting his medications.

"I'm being taken care of and to request ... that you and the family please make as many contacts as you can with Jewish communities in the United States in order to put pressure on the American government and President Obama to work with and accept the demands of the mujahedeen in order for me to gain my freedom," Weinstein says in the video, referring to the fighters holding him.

The video was posted on the Internet by al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, according to IntelCenter, a U.S.-based group that monitors media websites.

He also urged his family to ask the "Republican candidate," presumably presidential contender Mitt Romney, to use his influence to get him released.

"Perhaps you can also make an appeal to the Republican candidate to see if they would also work and put pressure on President Obama and deal with the mujahedeen in order to respond to their demands," he said.

Weinstein was abducted last August in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore after gunmen tricked his guards and broke into his home. He was the country director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, a U.S.-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors.

It was Weinstein's second video this week. In a release Wednesday he sought the help of the Israeli prime minister in securing his release.

The aid worker said President Barack Obama and the American government "have shown no interest in my case." He appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for help "as one Jew to another," asking him to accept the militant group's demands so he could return to his family.

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